How to Encourage Your Child to Be Less Dependent on Material Possessions

We live in the digital age and it’s not uncommon to find children as young as 10 with smart phones and expensive tablets. The question is, how do we encourage our children to be less dependant on material possessions, and how do we compete with their friends who seem to have everything?

We live in the digital age and it’s not uncommon to find children as young as 10 with smart phones and expensive tablets. The question is, how do we encourage our children to be less dependant on material possessions, and how do we compete with their friends who seem to have everything?

Pile of Gadgets

Stopping your children from being less materialistic is a lot easier said than done. Many parents feel the need to buy their children’s affection with the latest gadgets and this is unnecessary. Buying your child gifts all the time teaches your child that stuff equals love, equals happiness and they will become materialistic. Raising children in a world where everything is changing so quickly digitally is very difficult and it’s understandable that they want all the latest technology.

Children will often see the use of smartphones and adverts for the latest laptops whilst watching TV. One way to stop them from seeing this is to encourage them to partake in other activities such as reading a book, drawing or playing with toys. They are then less likely to see expensive new products that they want you to buy for them. Children will often want things “because their friends have them” and there are a number of ways to try and combat this. Show them that they can have just as much fun away from all the gadgets as their friends who are stuck to their iPad’s all day. If your child must watch TV, hit the mute button during those ad breaks! Have a chat during the break or encourage your child to do something else for those 3 minutes.

Spending time with your child is important and a great way to teach them your own values and beliefs. Spending quality time together is much more valuable than spending money on them. If you’re too busy to spend time with your child then they will of course turn to things such as an iPad and computer games and the materialism will increase. Make an effort to do things with your children that don’t cost money. You could go to the library, bake something or spend some time at the park. Teach your child that family time is more important than a room full of material possessions. Cherish the time you spend with your children.

Money Box and Coins

Another way to encourage your child to be less dependent on material possessions is to teach them the value and importance of money. When your child gets old enough to have their own money, help them to appreciate the value by making them save up for the things they want. Giving younger children a small allowance provides you a great opportunity in teaching them how to use it. Every time they then say “I want this or that” you can ask them if they have enough money saved up for it to buy the item. Children who get everything don't learn to handle disappointment and they don't learn to work for things they want.

Educate your child on world issues to help them to appreciate what they have at home. When your children learn about what others have or don’t have around the world, the new toy they want may seem insignificant. It may be harder to get really small children to understand poverty but it is easy to start teaching them and talking to them about different areas of the world who are less fortunate. You could even get involved in sending donation boxes with toiletries to under-privileged children in other countries or food banks for the elderly. Your child can help put the boxes together or choose a few tins of food during the weekly shop so they really feel like they’re doing some good. These kinds of activities really help to counter materialism.

FoodLimit presents to Birthday’s and Christmas only. If a child receives presents weekly or sporadically, this may lead them to expect presents all the time. If you stand your ground and save presents for special occasions only then your child will appreciate them more and not expect to get things throughout a normal week. Encourage children to have birthday and Christmas lists on the go so they can add to it every time they see something they like. Nearer the time your child can go through the list and cross off anything they no longer want or that they’ve bought with their own money. This keeps your child focussed and they will have something to look forward to. Before a birthday comes around, encourage your child to clear out some of their older toys so they have room for their new gifts. You could take these to a charity shop together or donate them. Explain to your child that they are making someone else very happy by doing this. They will learn the values of empathy and generosity. It will make your child think really hard about how much they want new toys if it means getting rid of old ones.

On the subject of Christmas, do not use this as an excuse to overly indulge on presents for your children. Set yourself a Christmas budget. Get into the spirit of Christmas with your children by baking Christmas food, watching films and decorating the house and teach them that this is what Christmas is all about, not piles and piles of presents. Make family traditions that do not involve material objects and these will be memories that they will hopefully pass to their own children.

We really hope this has given you some ideas on how to make your child less materialistic. We have to be realistic in that the age we live in your child will want all of the latest gadgets. The problem with being materialistic is that it's only a temporary high. You get stuff to feel good, then the novelty wears off and you're forced to buy more to feel that buzz. Stand your ground, follow these tips and hopefully over time you will see a difference.

What is the Verdict?

MoneySavingPigWhat are your thoughts on stopping children from being materialistic? Do you have any great ideas on how to combat this?  We love feedback so please use the comment section below.

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